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My Road to the 2013 Disney Princess Half Marathon

on March 7, 2013

When I decided to start running in October of 2011, the goal was to complete a runDisney half marathon.  My plans changed when runDisney added the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler,ToT Blog Pic which I completed on September 29, 2012 (well really September 30 since that one’s a night race and I finished after midnight).  I still wanted to run a half marathon so I signed up for the St. Jude Memphis Half, which I completed on December 1, 2012.  I’ll have more on that at a later date.  I thought this would satisfy my bucket list cravings, but within a week of finishing Tower of Terror, I still really wanted to do a Disney half.  At that moment the only one open for registration that wasn’t sold out was the 2013 Disney Princess Half Marathon, which I will refer to as simply Princess.  Disney races are always special but this one was extra special because it was the 5th anniversary of the event.  I had what I call a “race crush” for this one but the reasonable, always careful planner in me kept that crush at bay.  I had just gotten back from 10 days in Walt Disney World and had a May 2013 Disney Cruise Line trip aboard the Dream booked.  My calendar and wallet just were not going to make room for another trip of that magnitude.  So I did what any reasonable person trying to satisfy a race crush would do.  I watched You Tube videos, subscribed to the Princess race thread on the Disboards, and re-read all the blog entries I could find.  Yes, I said re-read, meaning I had already read them.  In retrospect, these things are exactly the WRONG things to do UNLESS you are trying to talk yourself or someone else into actually signing up.  My race crush became a straight up love affair in late October when runDisney released a photo of the new medal.Princess Medal blog pic  See, runDisney only changes medal designs in correlation with anniversary years.  They keep the same basic design for 4 years, then they’ll have a special anniversary medal design, then change it again for the next 4 years.  So, an anniversary year is literally the only time a runDisney medal design is completely unique to that year.  I am a sucker for runner bling!   I figured I could fly down using Delta Skymiles on Thursday night before the event, stay in a Disney value resort for 3 nights, then fly back on Sunday after the race.  I would only have to take one day of vacation for the trip, and it would be relatively inexpensive.  Ok, done!  I signed up for it and added on the ever popular Race Retreat.

RunDisney races are not just a one race and done day.  Oh, noooooooo!  They feature an entire weekend of fun-filled events that can include the whole family.  The weekend usually (I say usually because Tower of Terror weekend didn’t feature this) kicks off with a super exclusive, hard to get into, very cool (from what I hear) Meet-Up.  The Meet-Up includes an early morning run with former Olympian Jeff Galloway (who is also the official runDisney coach), other celebrities which vary by event, character greetings, informative talks, and fun swag.  Who doesn’t love swag?  Next comes the expo, which is usually is 2 days (3 days for Marathon Weekend in January).  The expo is a must attend event since that is where runners pick up their bibs, race shirts, and gEar bags (more swag).  The REAL fun of the expo, though, is lots and lots of stuff to buy, of course!!  Then there are the guest speakers, photo opportunities, product samples and demos.  Disney knows how to do an expo right!  There are also always kids’ races and a 5k fun run (fun run because they don’t provide official times).  Even babies who are crawlers have their own race!  5k and kids’ races participants get their own bibs, race shirts, and medallions as well.  They are called medallions because they aren’t actually made of metal like the ones for the main events.  They are rubber and the designs change every year for every event.  They are way cool!!  Some of the runDisney race weekends even have a Pasta in the Park Party, ChEar Squad packages for spectators, a family breakfast, and the Race Retreat.  Future posts will cover all of these events in greater detail.  People can even sign up to volunteer at the events.  There truly is something for everyone in a runDisney weekend!

So, of course, after getting to experience all of this once with Tower of Terror, it’s only natural that I would want to do it all again for Princess weekend.  Disney races are incredibly addictive.  I personally experienced the Expo, Race Retreat, and the main event, the Half Marathon.  My family experienced the Gold ChEar Squad package.  In future posts, I will review these events as well as others that some of my Princess friends were able to participate in.  I hope you’ll check back often and follow along because a runDisney race is truly an adventure!

Want to participate in your own runDisney adventure?  Registration is now open for the 2013 Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler weekend and will be opening soon for the 2013 Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend.

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